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Home / Articles / Opinion / CitizenSpeak /  Dust in the Wind
CitizenSpeak

Dust in the Wind

Babs De Lay recaps Burning Man 2009.

By Babs De Lay
Posted // September 11,2009 -

Three days, three baths later and the yellow Playa dust is still coming out of my ears. Global warming is definitely upon us as evidenced by another year of 20-30 mph winds and alkali dust at Burning Man.

The Reno paper reported on Labor Day that attendance was down 11 percent from last year to about 42,000 participants this year. Hell, who would notice the difference in the desert of tents, RVs and domes?

We rolled in just in time for Tutu Tuesday (virtually all Burners wear a tutu on Tuesdays!) after our base campers got in three days earlier to set up the biodiesel generator, get our private porta-potties delivered and construct some shade and the shower. The six days I spent on the Playa just blurred (as usual) into one long day. Burners don't sleep much. I do personally take long naps and found my mantra this year was "ear plugs and Ambien"!

The art was good and bad. The Man himself was shorter but the base around him was awesome, like a skeewampus crown made of wood. The temple was one of the best ever--shaped like a lovely lotus blossom. We did service as a camp and took out Burners on an artery tour of the art, but I bailed after only half a dozen pieces were showcased because it was ber hot and they planned on visiting another 20 more of them. Oy.

The popo (police) were everywhere. I swear there were more of them than usual but a Ranger (Black Rock City staff/faux cops) told me there weren't any more than 2008. They seemed more aggressive, though. One moron on Burn Night pulled out a bullet with his coke in it at a big dance dome-about seven popo nailed his ass immediately.

I watched K-9 units cruise the streets but never saw a dog. One 20- something woman jumped out of a Ranger truck about 3 a.m. one night and came up to our parked art car asking for a spare smoke. The Rangers were helping her find her car and keys as she had forgotten where among the 42,000 people she had parked her vehicle. Another Ranger friend said a Burner was found at a ranch @ seven miles outside of the perimeter fence of Burning Man on Monday--naked with only one shoe on, high as a kite and mentally disturbed. The rancher was gonna shoot him, but decided instead to call the BLM to "tell Burning Man to come get one of their hippies."

Surly Camp was in rare form at Black Rock City, pumping out some of the best beats around the desert this year with six DJs on board from Reno, San Francisco and Bend. I heart Barisone's and Coop Daddy's mixes. Thievery Corporation and Papa Changa were the camps favs around the Playa.

Our theme camp (with signage and bling) was well branded with our slogans and red Surly bott: "So's Your Face", "Paying It Backwards" and "Talkin' Shit Is Our Art." The double-decker art car "The Surly Bird" is mostly a two-level dance floor mounted on an old truck, with giant woofers, speakers and a big red sofa as a cow catcher on the front. Lit up at night with red flag poles, the "Bird" crawled around the Playa about 20 hours a day playing music for the people.

They love to pull up to the outdoor toilets and "rock the potties" at a billion decibels for a good laugh. And the people of the Playa love to dance, dressed in Steam Punk or butt naked. One nude dancing smelly guy did have an entire disco ball on his head. He had cut out the bottom of it and was wearing it as a helmet. We almost hung him upside down from the art car but his lack of deodorant changed our minds.

I married some friends at sunset Thursday night, both naked in the rising moonlight. Getting licensed in Nevada is a pain but I've been doing ceremonies there since 2006 and the effort is worth it. I've been a minister since 1984 and married and buried over 500 folks.

Ah, but now we're all back to our separate homes. Burners come from all over the world and take back incredible memories.

Surlys are checking into our Yahoo group now that they are home after Burning Man. Classic Surly:

Patty Cakes: I got home Monday night and took a shower. Bits of crusty blue and yellow Peeps fell out of my hair. Kinda terrifying until I realized what they were.

The Bunny (a lawyer in our camp who had dyed his hair bright red for the Burn): we got back sunday night and at 10 pm no one was awake, so I figured I'd try to take a shower, but then just as I was about to hop in the shower this raver started making all sorts of weird noises. I am sure she was a raver as she was wearing soft white clothing and had a pacifier in her mouth.
I tried to talk her down a bit and even patted her on the back, but she must have been trippin balls b/c nothing I did calmed her down. then her friend came in to the room, I am sure it was her friend b/c she threw her arms up and smiled. the friend gave her some kind of drink or elixir that seemed to flow from her very bosoms and the raver passed out, almost like a baby that has just nursed.
Then I tried to get in the shower a second time and this midget started screaming, he must have daddy issues b/d even though it was midnight by this time he was yelling "Daddy Daddy" and "I like your red hair," anyway the midget ( I think he was a midget, he was about 40 inches tall) must have been on some junky shit b/c he said he was too afraid to be left alone, and he was having bad dreams. I told the midget I needed a shower and by the time I returned, he passed out, too.
Last night both the raver and the midget were up at 3 am again partying away, again the raver wanted some of that magic elixer and the midget wanted me to come check out his bedroom and stay there all night b/c he was still on some bad shit and was afraid to be left alone.
But the food at their camp is good, and the have a sweet shower set up.
I'm sure they've got some space for you at their little camp.

(That one is especially funny, since he's talking about his two infant children he went home to after the Burn).

Oh, we burned, all right. Surlys do it big. It was a good birthday party for me this year with all my 42,000 dusty friends. Whores!

 
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